This Week in PR Ethics (5/14/20): Art, Yoghurt and Aiding Your Enemies

While last week the most interesting PR ethics stories dealt with leadership, this week it was a true potpourri. There are some great ethics articles and discussion topics on art, yoghurt, aiding your enemies and right vs right. Check them out below and let me know if there are other interesting topics you read this week?

  • Art, silence and ethics – There was a fascinating article this week in the AMA Journal of Ethics on how art can help you become comfortable with discomfort, embrace silence to listen better to get more information, and better understand what is said and not said. All key ethics skills for a communication professional
  • Ethics and Yoghurt – I don’t want to get into a yogurt vs. yoghurt debate, but I enjoyed this paper that looked at the La Fageda cooperative that has been working to improve the lives of people with intellectual disabilities and severe mental illnesses in the district of La Garrotxa (Catalonia), while producing one of the best-selling yoghurts in the region. It specifically looks at the ethical issues behind their digital communications. Yes, the article is from 2019, but I saw it on twitter this week, so it is new to me.
  • The ethics of campaigning for your enemies – The Media Ethics Initiative shared a really intriguing case study this week on the ethics of campaigning for your enemies. In politics is it OK to spend campaign money promoting the opponent you would most like to meet in an election? This translates beyond politics to competitive analysis and pitching vs. other agencies and is worth a read. Another great point for discussion is what does calling them enemies vs. opponents due to civil discourse?
  • How do you handle right v right? – There was an interesting article on ethics leadership from the ICMA, an association for city managers. It looked at “right versus right.” The key insight: Making a choice between wrong and right is clear for most of us. But these are tough choices because they pit one “right” value against another competing and equally “right” value. As he noted, “The really tough decisions don’t center upon right versus wrong. They involve right versus right. They are genuine dilemmas precisely because each side is firmly rooted in one of our basic, core values.”
Mark McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA
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Mark W. McClennan, APR, Fellow PRSA, is the general manager of C+C's Boston office. C+C is a communications agency all about the good and purpose-driven brands. He has more than 20 years of tech and fintech agency experience, served as the 2016 National Chair of PRSA, drove the creation of the PRSA Ethics App and is the host of


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